10 Ways To Respond To Unsolicited Advice From People Without Losing Your Cool

10 Ways To Respond To Unsolicited Advice From People Without Losing Your Cool

You’re minding your own business when your aunt/friend/acquaintance gives you advice about a situation you’re in. It’s totally unsolicited! It’s uncomfortable to be in this situation and you might want to tell them to shut up, but you don’t have to make things ugly. There are better ways to respond to unsolicited advice from others so it doesn’t ruin your day. Here are 10 to consider the next time someone corners you and says, “Here’s what I think you should do…”

1. Divert Their Attention.

If you’re at a party and surprised by someone launching into unsolicited advice in the middle of a chat, one of the easiest ways to deal is to say, “Oh! Did you have some of the appetizers? They’re so good!” or “Look at the host’s cute orange cat!” Divert their attention. You might also want to excuse yourself to go mingle with other guests. Bye, Felicia!

2. Ask Them A Question.

The person’s given you some advice about your new relationship but you don’t want to engage. Wait a second after they’ve told you what to do and then turn the spotlight onto them, such as by saying, “Oh, Aunt Grace, I wanted to ask you how you’re feeling after your hip surgery?” or “Tell me how you’ve been doing – didn’t you get a promotion at work?” People just want to talk about themselves, so they’ll probably happily take the bait.

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4. Ask Them How They’ve Handled The Situation.

When someone gives you unsolicited advice, it might be that they’ve been in your shoes before. So, why not take the opportunity to learn from them? Ask them if they’ve experienced what you’re going through and how they coped. You might gain a new perspective on your situation. Pro tip: You don’t always have to learn life lessons the hard way – others’ experiences and stories can be gold.

5. Tell Them You’ll Think About It.

If the person who’s dumping advice on you is someone you care about and you know their heart’s in the right place, it might be best to tell them that you’ll take time to think about what they said, even if you won’t. But hey, you might actually want to do that if you’ve been confused in your situation. Who knows? Maybe they have some good advice underneath their rude approach.

6. Tell Them You’ve Sorted It Out.

If you don’t want to talk about your situation, you don’t have to. Tell the person that you’ve sorted it all out and everything’s fine now, even if it isn’t. They don’t need to know the deets, you just want to get them off your back! If they continue asking you questions about it, tell them you’ve got to run. Sorry not sorry.

7. Ignore Them And Talk To Someone Else.

If you’re in a social setting, you can make a quick exit even in the most uncomfortable conversations because there are other people around. So, imagine the annoying person has advised you on your relationship problems. Listen to what they have to say, then turn around and start talking to someone else. Or, pretend you can see your friend’s arrived at the party. Raise your hand to an imaginary person and tell the annoying person, “My friend’s here!” If that’s not going to work, like because you’re at a small gathering, pretend your phone’s ringing or you have to make an urgent call.

8. Say, “Thanks, but…”

If you don’t want to be direct when shutting the person down, you could throw them off by saying something like, “Thank you so much for expressing your concern, even though I never asked you for your opinion.” It’s kinda polite, so they can’t argue with you, but it’s also a bit salty so hopefully they’ll realize it’s not cool to jump in with their advice.

9. Use A Bit Of Humor.

If you’re painfully shy or dislike confrontation, you can use humor to get yourself out of the uncomfortable situation. Tell the person, “It’s so much more fun to make bad decisions, don’t you think?” or “I was hoping you’d tell me to do the opposite, because it’s entertaining!” Then, have a good laugh. It’s a great way to sail above their words and show them you don’t care.

10. Tell Them How You Really Feel.

If you’d rather be direct with them, you could express how their comments make you feel. This will prevent them from dishing you unsolicited advice again. So, you could say something like, “It makes me angry when you take it upon yourself to give me advice that I never asked you for. In future, respect me by not telling me what to do.” Respect!

11. Give Them A Verbal Jab.

If the person giving you unsolicited advice is annoying, you might want to give them a bit of a verbal jab to shut them up. You don’t have to be mean or anything, but you could say something like, “Wow, you’re full of great advice, you should write a book, hahahaha!” Hopefully, this will make them aware of how their words could be annoying to others. Enough is enough.

Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.